On Friday August 19, more than 100 elected officials and civic leaders rode the 12th annual Policymakers Ride in Oregon’s Washington County. Since the ride began in 2005, Cycle Oregon has helped stage this annual event that initiates discussion about regional challenges related to water, population, tourism, and transportation management systems.
This year’s 27-mile ride—which went from the Fernhill Wetlands in Forest Grove to Greenville City Park in Banks, and back—focused on the Portland metropolitan area’s “West Side Story,” a rapidly growing network of cycling and walking trails.
Members and allies of the Intertwine Alliance started the day with a tour of the nationally recognized Fernhill Wetlands wastewater management facility. Riders departed Fernhill with a belly full of scones, burritos, quiches, and cinnamon rolls from Maggie’s Buns in Forest Grove. They rode past farm fields to the village of Verboort, famous for its towering sequoia groves and annual handmade-sausage festival.
Under the welcome shade of the sequoia trees, riders learned about the intersections of agriculture and water management, which has helped grow the nursery business in Washington County. Riders headed north toward Banks, where they took the Banks-Vernonia trail to a stop at the Vandehay Ranch. There, riders heard about Metro’s upcoming levy to secure open spaces and fund conservation efforts, and about Oregon State Parks Scenic Bikeway program.
Riders found shade back at Greenville City Park in Banks, where lunch by the Trailhead Café was served. They heard about the growing tourism economy in Washington County, including award-winning wines and world-class bicycle routes—the Yamhelas Westsider Trail, a scenic trail through wine country, is on the list for future ride routes. Riders also heard about the latest news on the Salmonberry Trail, which holds the promise of connecting Portland with the coast along a historic 84-mile route through the Tillamook State Forest and many chapters of Oregon’s history.
The return to Fernhill was hot, but conversations about advancing many important projects helped the miles pass quickly. Temperatures were flirting with 100 degrees by the time the peloton crossed the finish line, where riders were greeted in true Cycle Oregon fashion by an ice cream truck!
Photos by Scott Mizée and Jonathan Nicholas. Special thanks to our partners and sponsors of the Policymakers Ride.